Farm buildings and machinery
If you can’t prepare for Brexit - get ready for winter
As the UK unhitches from the EU, it’s impossible to plan ahead with much certainty.
But what you can prepare for is to get through these cold, dreich months in good shape for whatever lies ahead.
High winds, rainfall, snow and freezing temperatures can threaten farm sheds and buildings. Identify buildings that may be vulnerable to snow or storm damage and repair or upgrade these before winter.
Repairs and renovations can be challenging, so be confident you have the right contractor to meet your needs. Using a tried and trusted firm can give you peace of mind.
Have you made provision for fuel and heating oil going into winter, and how is your storage? Farm thefts are a problem, so make sure your fuel tanks and stores are secure. And it is handy to have an emergency generator in reserve.
Another consideration must be feed and bedding supplies to see livestock through the winter – no matter how expensive these are after such a dry summer in many parts.
Have a think as well about how you will get feed to animals in bad weather. It might be worth considering accessible areas to which isolated stock may be moved in poor conditions.
Machinery maintenance is essential, so create inventories for machinery and equipment and prioritise what needs to be done and when, then keep equipment inside, away from frost.
A bit of preparation to ensure water supplies to stock are reliable in the event of hard frost could prevent big problems. Think about contingency arrangements such as water bowsers.
How are you going to ensure access and exit points are open in bad weather? Establish early on how snow can be cleared, either with your own equipment or nearby machinery – and have sufficient stocks of salt/grit.
These days rain is more likely than snow, so have you ensured no surface water is entering slurry stores? Where possible, empty slurry stores in preparation for winter in order to avoid the need to spread during unsuitable conditions.
Another important consideration is insurance. Have you reviewed your insurance, and does the policy include a cover for severe weather or storm damage?
On a wider scale, joint planning with neighbouring farms is something to consider, to ensure critical business activity can be sustained.
With just a few basic checks, you will be able to get on with doing what you do best – farming.